Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I should utilize the Counseling Center’s services?

Just about anyone can benefit from taking the time to reflect on their life to gain greater insight or self-awareness. We recommend that a student contact the Counseling Center if distress in their life has increased to the point where their ability to function is compromised or if their overall life satisfaction is not where they want it to be. If worries or your mood are negatively affecting your ability to go to class, manage your academic obligations, and/or to be engaged in and enjoying your life, counseling could help.

How can a Counseling Center workshop help me?

Counseling Center workshops are designed to promote health and wellness by teaching skills that increase students’ ability to handle stress and emotions. These skills are often more effectively taught in a group setting that allows students to practice the new skill. Workshops offer a good starting place for students and may be sufficient to address their concerns. Sign-up for a Counseling Center workshop.

How can a group help me address my concerns?

Groups allow students to address their concerns through engagement with others. Some groups provide opportunities for students to explore personal issues and interpersonal relationships in a setting where honest feedback, reflection, and support from peers can occur; others provide a space for discussion, exploration, and providing support around common experiences. Groups are especially effective for those interested in exploring their interpersonal style and enhancing their approach to relationships in such areas as trust, intimacy, anger, conflict, assertiveness, taking risks, and improving self-esteem.

What is individual counseling and can it help me?

In individual counseling, you will meet one-on-one with a counselor in a safe, caring, non-judgmental, and confidential environment. During your sessions, you will have the opportunity to explore feelings, beliefs, or behaviors, work through challenging or influential memories, better understand yourself or your relationships with others, identify aspects of your life that you would like to change and work toward desired goals. Counselors can help you in a variety of ways because they are excellent sounding boards, compassionate listeners, and skillful experts in problems of living.

Can I trust that the Counseling Center will be confidential?

Our staff is ethically committed to confidentiality and federal and Maryland laws protect the confidentiality of information shared in counseling. However, it is important to note that the law does require that confidential information be disclosed in several circumstances:

  1. in instances where there is imminent danger of serious harm to you or to others, a counselor may reveal information to prevent harm;
  2. in cases where child abuse or abuse of a dependent adult is made known, the counselor must report the abuse; and
  3. when mandated by a court order, information would be released.

Learn more about confidentiality.

Is there a limit to the number of counseling sessions I can receive?

The Counseling Center provides short-term oriented counseling, but there is no set limit to the number of sessions you may receive. The average number of individual sessions received by our clients is about six, and over 90% of students are seen for less than 15 sessions. If it is clear at your initial consultation or during the course of your treatment at the Counseling Center that you want or need longer-term care, we will assist you in finding a resource in the community that better fits your needs.

Will my parents, faculty, and/or others be informed that I am going to the Counseling Center?

No. Only if you have signed a written release of information for the Counseling Center to communicate with a specific person(s). The only exception would be if you are a danger to yourself or others. Learn more about confidentiality.

How long will I wait until I can meet with a counselor for an initial consultation during drop-in hours?

There may be a brief wait for services, depending on the time of day that your drop-in, but any student who arrives at the Counseling Center during our drop-in hours will be seen that day for an initial consultation with a counselor.

If you are in crisis and cannot wait for drop-in hours, please call or come to Counseling Center and tell the receptionist that you would like to see a counselor as soon as possible. Counselors are available daily outside of drop-in hours to provide crisis intervention services to students.

How will i be assigned to a counselor if I am referred to brief individual therapy?

Typically, if you are referred to brief individual therapy from an initial consultation visit, you will continue to work with the same counselor you met with for the initial consultation. There are points in the semester, or other reasons, when you may transferred to another therapist at the Counseling Center for brief therapy. If you are interested in meeting with a particular counselor (or if you have been referred to a specific counselor by a friend, professor, or administrator) please inform the counselor you meet with at the initial consultation visit and we will work to accommodate your preference. Our counselors are psychologists, licensed social workers, licensed counselors or doctoral interns who are under supervision of a licensed psychologist on staff.

How much does it cost?

There is no cost for services.

What can I expect counseling to be like?

Each of our counselors has a unique style and approach to therapy. However, we all share a commitment to providing you with an experience in which you feel understood, cared for and not judged for what you are thinking, feeling, or doing. Our staff also cares deeply about social justice and we are diligent to be mindful of the difficulties faced by individuals who experience marginalization in our society. As a Center, we celebrate difference and strive to have an open dialogue with students about how issues of diversity impact their lives and well-being.

Would I be able to get a psychiatric consultation if I need one?

Counseling Center Consulting Psychiatrists are available for consultations and can prescribe psychotropic medications to students. If you are interested in considering medication as a treatment option, come to our drop-in hours and discuss your situation with one of our counselors, who will then refer you to one of our consulting psychiatrists, if appropriate.

If you are already in brief individual therapy, discuss your interest in considering medication as a treatment option with your counselor, who will then refer you to one of our consulting psychiatrists as appropriate. The Counseling Center professionals will decide whether a student will need to be in counseling in order to receive prescriptions from one of our psychiatrists.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Both psychiatrists and psychologists work in the mental health field. A psychiatrist possesses a Medical Degree (MD or DO) and can prescribe medication, whereas a psychologist earned a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology and provides talk therapy. At the JHU Counseling Center, psychologists and psychiatrists actively consult with each other to promote the most effective mental health treatment for JHU students.

Is couples counseling available at the Counseling Center?

Students who wish to have counseling as a couple must both be Johns Hopkins students eligible to receive services at the Counseling Center.

Can the Counseling Center help me find a therapist off-campus?

One of the services the Counseling Center provides is assistance in locating and connecting with mental health services off-campus in the community. We can help you find a provider who will accept your medical insurance and be able to address your needs. Please call the Counseling Center’s case manager for information and assistance.